Was fatal I-83 crash a first attempt at killing wife? York Twp. man facing first-degree murder charge
A judge will consider whether to strike down a first-degree murder charge against a York Township man accused of causing a woman’s death in a vehicle crash nearly three years ago, as well as whether to un-couple that case from another in which he's charged with stabbing his wife and mother-in-law.
Nikhil Dev, 46, appeared in a York County Common Pleas Court where both issues were discussed Friday. He faces several charges stemming from the two incidents, which occurred about a week apart in 2019.
Dev allegedly sped through a construction zone, about 40 miles per hour above the speed limit, when the SUV he was driving swerved and struck a pickup truck on I-83 near Plank Road in Shrewsbury on May 24, 2019.
A passenger in the truck, Namitha Alicea, 41, of Colonial Beach, Virginia, was killed along with her dog, and her husband was injured. Dev and his wife, who was a passenger in his SUV at the time, were also reportedly injured.
Then about a week later, on June 1, 2019, Dev allegedly “snapped” and stabbed his wife and mother-in-law multiple times during a movie night at the family’s home. The women were injured, and Dev was arrested.
He’s charged in that case with felony counts of attempted homicide and aggravated assault as well as two misdemeanor counts of simple assault.
A criminal case was filed in the fatal crash in January 2021, and Dev was charged with counts of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault by vehicle when the case reached the Common Pleas level. The York County District Attorney’s Office later tacked on counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Christopher Ferro, Dev’s attorney in the crash case, alleged the new charges were added as part of an effort by prosecutors to strengthen their position for joining the two cases together instead of treating them as separate incidents. A judge approved the consolidation last May shortly after the charges were updated.
In a habeas corpus petition filed last July, Ferro said the DA’s Office connected the incidents by accusing Dev of trying to kill his wife in the crash.
“The Commonwealth has conjured up a theory, without evidence, that the defendant’s motor vehicle accident was the beginning of repeated efforts to kill his wife,” Ferro stated in his motion.
Ferro argued prosecutors don’t have enough evidence to support the first-degree murder and attempted murder charges. He called on the court to dismiss the new counts, and then without the charges to hold them together, sever the cases.
“There is no evidence in the instant case that the defendant possessed specific intent or pre-meditation to kill anyone, including his wife and/or the occupants of the other vehicle in the crash,” Ferro stated in his petition.
Ferro also argued Dev became distraught with grief after learning the victim in the crash died and his mental health “significantly deteriorated” leading up to the alleged stabbing, and his condition at the time was the only issue connecting the two incidents.
Roy Galloway III, Dev’s attorney in the stabbing case, has also argued for severing the two cases and was with Ferro at Friday’s hearing.
Kyle King, the DA’s Office spokesperson, said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the cases while they’re still active.
During the hearing, Judge Gregory Snyder was provided a transcript of prior hearings from the crash case as well as the DA’s Office’s original motion for consolidating the two cases.
Snyder will look over the documents in the cases over the next couple months. He scheduled an April 1 court date for attorneys to return and argue their points.
— Aimee Ambrose can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.